The Paper Studio at Thistle Farms has been expanding during 2012 to offer a new collection of well-designed and carefully executed handmade creations. In February, the paper team moved its operation into a dedicated studio space with one area for pulp production and papermaking, and another for bookbinding, sewing and paper construction.
In April, a new piece of equipment, affectionately known as the Critter, went into operation. Suddenly, we could produce a smoother more flexible version of our traditional paper made from dried thistle blossoms and recycled bags and cardboard. In addition, the Critter can break down the fibers of old cotton t-shirts and sheets, which, combined with thistle fibers, produces a fine quality buff colored rag paper appropriate for bookbinding. This new rag paper is often decorated with flower petals, seeds, leaves and even tinted with food coloring. The Paper Studio is proud to say that we are turning trash into cash!
The Magdalene employees in the Paper Studio work as a team dedicated to creative production. By increasing the quantity and quality of our paper, we have been able to develop a wide range of new designs. A group of devoted volunteers began joining the team every week to help in the production of books and gift items, increasing our production while reducing our labor cost. Many of our volunteers are skilled artisans, and their gift of time and talent is greatly appreciated. In addition to our expanded gift line, the Paper Studio has accepted several special commissions this year, including graduation invitations, journals and CD covers.
As demand continues to grow for our journals, greeting cards, bookmarks, gift tags and ornaments, the Critter is working hard every day to produce an adequate supply of paper pulp. The raw materials for our products cost very little, so most of the money received from sales goes directly into labor. In the Paper Studio, employees and volunteers laugh, share and work together to produce well crafted gift items, but, more importantly, to bring more women off the streets and into the healing circle of Magdalene/Thistle Farms.
To view photos from our beautiful paper studio, click HERE.
To purchase Thistle Farms paper studio products, click HERE.